I am proud to say that I have all my own teeth at the age of 65. While that may not sound unusual to some people, everyone in my family who is my age or older wears dentures. I always tell people that that flossing is the key to good dental health. I have arthritis in my hands, but I don't let it keep me from flossing every day. My trick is to use those little "flossers" you can buy at the drug store. They have plastic handles floss stretched out on top of the handle. These make flossing easier on days when my arthritis is acting up. I started this blog to let other people know that they can keep their teeth healthy into old age when they take care of them. If you have hand pain, find ways to make flossing easier, like I did.
The pulp contains the nerves of your teeth and is located in the middle of your tooth. Certain conditions, such as enamel erosion, can allow bacteria to get inside the pulp because it is not thick enough to keep bacteria out. Enamel erosion causes your enamel to thin, and because of this, infectious microorganisms can enter your tooth and attack the pulp and nerves. If this happens, an abscess may develop, causing excruciating pain. Here are some emergency dental interventions your dentist may provide to treat your pulp infection.
Your emergency dentist may take a bitewing X-ray of the affected tooth to assess your infection. If the bitewing X-ray is inconclusive or if your dentist needs to evaluate the nearby teeth and your jawbone, a panoramic view X-ray may be recommended. Imaging tests can reveal the precise location of a pulp infection as well as the severity of the infection.
Before your bitewing X-ray, you will be given a small piece of plastic or cardboard to bite down on. Then, with the camera or the X-ray machine firmly pressed against your face, the X-ray will be taken. While a bitewing X-ray does not hurt, biting down on the cardboard may be momentarily uncomfortable.
A severe pulp infection can lead to a blood infection called sepsis. To lower your risk of sepsis, your dentist will clean out the pus, drainage, and other infectious material from your tooth and then irrigate it with copious amounts of water. The dentist will give you a prescription for oral antibiotics to treat the existing infection and prevent it from spreading to other areas, including your blood. In addition to oral antibiotics, your emergency dentist may also prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash for you to use at home.
Certain antibiotics used to treat pulp infections can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. If you experience these adverse reactions, taking a spoonful of yogurt about an hour before taking your antibiotic may help prevent stomach problems. Antibiotics not only kill bad bacteria in your gut but also healthy bacteria.
If you develop a severe toothache, facial swelling, or fever, or if you notice a bad-tasting liquid draining from your tooth, seek emergency dental services. These symptoms may be indicative of a severe pulp infection. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of the infection may help lower your risk for sepsis and tooth loss.
Contact a local emergency dentist to learn more.